Oxfam to probe Pakistan flood funds 'irregularities'

Children at a camp for flood victims along the road from Dadu, in Pakistan's Sindh province Between 14 to 20 million people were affected by the floods in July 2010

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An investigation into "financial irregularities" in Oxfam's flood relief programme in Pakistan has been launched by the charity.

An independent external audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers is under way after the problem was discovered in the southern province of Sindh.

A spokesman said they would make every effort to recover any missing money.

More than 1,750 people are thought to have been killed by the floods which began in July 2010.

The charity is currently providing humanitarian aid to more than 1.95 million people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh.

It has provided clean water, sanitation and temporary shelter kits.

Oxfam emphasised that, even if the financial irregularities were confirmed, it would represent less than 2% of their total emergency flood response spending in Pakistan.

'Rigorous controls'

In a statement it said: "Oxfam is committed to upholding the strictest and most rigorous financial controls and ensuring its programme is being delivered in a transparent and accountable manner.

"Oxfam's own internal monitoring and auditing system identified the financial irregularity currently being investigated.

"Oxfam's priority is to ensure that donors' money is spent effectively and that it provides the support expected and committed to poor people in Pakistan.

"We are conducting this investigation to allow us to continue to be accountable to the communities that we work with, and ensure improved service delivery in the future."

It added: "Oxfam will not be making any further financial commitments until the investigation has been completed."

Although the death toll from last summer's deluge was relatively low, between 14 and 20 million people were affected.

The floods started in the mountainous north and surged south, destroying 1.2 million homes and damaging about 14% of Pakistan's land under cultivation.

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